The Minnesota Wild suspended goalie Josh Harding as a result of his “non-hockey” injury, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports. The 30-year-old goalie reportedly fractured his right foot kicking a wall, according to Russo:
Josh Harding, arguably the Wild’s No. 1 goaltender heading into Thursday’s training camp, broke his right foot while kicking a wall after an off-ice altercation with a teammate and is expected to miss at least two or three months.
(No word yet on who that teammate was.)
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Harding won’t be paid and his $1.9 million cap hit won’t count as long as he’s injured. That’s another tough blow for Harding, as early estimates indicate he’ll miss a few months (he’s labeled “out indefinitely”).
This is one of the more eyebrow-raising turn of events in what’s been a tumultuous few days for the Wild.
The team was in pretty heated contract negotiations with Darcy Kuemper, yet this eventually opened the door for the two sides to come to terms. Kuemper, 24, will generate a $1.25 million cap hit through the next two seasons (if his reported contract details are accurate).
That didn’t happen before the Wild handed Ilya Bryzgalov a training camp invite, however.
Harding is in the last year of his current contract, and with unfortunately inevitable questions about his long-term viability stemming from his battles with multiple sclerosis, this situation comes at an especially inopportune time.
Meanwhile, the Wild took a rather peculiar route to get to this point, yet their goaltending situation looks quite a bit more settled than it did this past weekend.
It’s unfortunate that such progress was arguably accelerated by another tough break for Harding, though.